Who's Who

frank pic

Louis A. Frank is the Carver/James A.Van Allen Professor of Physics at The University of Iowa, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1964. He received his bachelor's degree in 1960, his master's in 1961, and his doctorate in 1964, all from the University of Iowa. He has been an experimenter, co-investigator, or principal investigator on 42 spacecraft for which he has designed instruments to examine such phenomena as energetic charged particles, space plasmas (or thin gases), and--with the use of specially designed cameras--Earth's auroras.

Dr. Frank is the principal investigator for the auroral imaging instruments for the Dynamics Explorer Mission, the plasma instrumentation for the Galileo Mission to Jupiter, the U.S. plasma instrumentation for the Japanese Geotail spacecraft, and the camera for visible wavelength light for the Polar spacecraft of the International Solar Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) Program.

His publications in professional journals include such topics as the first direct measurements of the terrestrial ring current and of the polar cusp, the current systems in Earth's magnetotail, the plasma tori (or donut-shaped rings) at Jupiter and at Saturn, and the global imaging of Earth's auroral zones and atmosphere. He is also the author of The Big Splash, published in 1990, about the discovery of small comets.

His current research interests include magnetospheric plasma in the vicinity of Earth, wave-plasma instabilities, active experiments in the ionosphere, interpretation of auroral images in terms of global convection and current systems, the Jovian magnetosphere and relationship with the Galilean satellites, computer tomography, geocoronal hydrogen, comets and optics.

He has served on various NASA and National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council committees and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the American Astronomical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Academy of Astronautics. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a recipient of the National Space Act Award.

sigwarth pic John B. Sigwarth is a senior research scientist at The University of Iowa, where he currently serves as project scientist for the Visible Imaging System (VIS), one of 11 instruments on board the Polar spacecraft. He received his doctorate in 1989 from the University of Iowa.

The VIS is an imaging system that captures pictures of Earth's auroras, dayglow, ozone layer and nightglow in visible and ultraviolet light at the rate of about 5,000 images per day. Dr. Sigwarth designed the VIS low resolution and medium resolution optics, and the optical relays for the three sensors vital to the imager. Also, he is responsible for the analysis, manufacture and testing of the VIS optical systems. He designed the VIS optical calibration setup, wrote instrument test procedures, developed image analysis software, completed calibration tests and performed analysis of the calibration data.

As VIS project scientist, he has day-to-day oversight responsibility for all aspects of the project, including direction of development team tasks, personnel management, and interaction with NASA officials. He also participates in post-launch operations and has a lead role in scientific analysis of VIS images.

His research interests include the study of small comets and their effects on the solar system. He has analyzed the Dynamics Explorer-1 global images to infer the fundamental characteristics of small comets and the signature of their impact in Earth's atmosphere. He has organized the Dynamic Explorer imaging team's participation in the Environmental Reactions Induced by Comets (ERIC) sounding rocket project, in which cameras aboard DE-l photographed the release of water by sounding rockets on three occasions.

Dr. Sigwarth is a member of the American Geophysical Union.

Photos by Tom Jorgensen, The University of Iowa

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